Thursday, February 15, 2018

Emory Dance Winter Studies: American Dance Festival Winter Intensive

This past winter break, Emory dancer Patsy Collins attended American Dance Festival's Winter Intensive in New York City. This was a 10-day program hosted by The Ailey Studios, and was comprised of daily classes in modern technique, improvisation, composition, somatics, and dancehall. She also partook in discussion with movement professionals, and attended several performances as part of the intensive. 

Read on to find out more about her experiences!

*Responses have been edited for length and clarity

Why did you decide to pursue a movement intensive this past winter break?

I decided to pursue movement study this past winter because I wanted to push myself to absorb as many opportunities for growth as possible. As I become more involved in the dance community here at Emory, I increasingly appreciate the importance of constant immersion in this field, and not only in a physical sense. At ADF, in addition to dancing, I was able to view dance, create dance, discuss dance, and write about dance. It truly was a full immersion in an environment where I could explore my physical and mental boundaries as a mover.

What are some takeaways/insights you have from this experience?

One major insight that I feel I developed from this experience is the importance of reflection. Journaling was an important part of ADF’s program this winter, and this has motivated me to keep a movement and a choreographic journal of my own, which has been an incredible guide for my improvement as a mover. I am choreographing a work for Emory Dance Company this semester, and have also led guided written reflections with my casts, in the hopes that these reflections will allow them to strengthen their connections with my movement and concept of the work.

Why do you think this was a valuable experience, and how will you apply it to your studies here at Emory, and in your future post-graduation?

This experience will be forever valuable. Dancing on the sixth floor of the Ailey Studios in Manhattan New York, while absorbing knowledge from wonderful movers like Nia Love, Leah Cox, Jesse Zarrit, Ephrat Asherie and Elisa Clark was amazing. The daily schedule was so enjoyable and physically beneficial. We began our early mornings with a discussion, and would break off into several movement classes throughout the day, separated by lunchtime discussion where we were able to hear from and meet with representatives from movement organizations such as Gibney Dance and Movement Research. The ability to see Alvin Ailey and Dorrance Dance perform was also a gift, as well as the opportunity to see additional shows or attend classes outside of ADF, since New York City is a budding hub for movement practice.

Would you recommend this program (or similar ones) to other movers, and if so, why?

Yes, I would recommend this intensive and similar ones to fellow movers. I believe that as students we often take our seasonal breaks and summer vacations for granted. Spending my winter break dancing in New York and learning from some of the most innovative movers of our time was my definition of the perfect break, a place where we can move and grow uninhibited by my other student responsibilities. This opportunity was instrumental for me, and I would encourage any mover to pursue any and all opportunities like this one if they are able to. The Emory Friends of Dance mini-grant program helped me attend this intensive, something I never could have imagined myself capable of a few years ago. I am incredibly grateful for this program, and the faculty and students that make it a privilege to be a part of.

Thank you Patsy!

To find out more about American Dance Festival's Winter Intensive, click here!

For more information about Emory's upcoming dance events, click here!

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Emory Dance Winter Studies: BDF/Gibney Connect Intensive

Emory dancer Katie Messina attended the BDF/Gibney Connect Intensive during this past winter break. This was a four day program hosted by Bates Dance Festival and Gibney Dance, at Gibney Dance Center in New York City. Katie attended daily classes in modern technique and composition, as well as attended seminars with dance professionals who are currently pursuing work in the field. Katie's experience was funded by an Emory Friends of Dance Mini-Grant.

Find out more about her experiences below!

*Responses have been edited for length and clarity

Why did you decide to pursue a movement intensive this past winter break?

I felt extremely inspired by dance this past fall. I felt it was important to keep that fire ignited by taking a step away from the Emory community and experiencing something completely new. It would allow me to keep learning and training through what is typically regarded as “time off.” We were lucky this year to have a long enough break that I also did get some time to relax. Plus, with my personality, I needed to keep moving.

What are some takeaways/insights you have from this experience?

This sounds dramatic, but truly the BDF/Gibney Connect Intensive was one of the best dance experiences of my life. I thoroughly enjoyed every class I took. Additionally, because I had gone to the Bates Dance Festival over the summer, I was able to see the true power of connections in the dance world--I was shocked at how many people I knew and recognized! Getting to move with them again, as well as some of the most incredible forces in our dance world right now, was both incredibly inspiring and humbling. From Kendra Portier to Amy Miller and Jennifer Nugent, these were some of the best teachers I’ve learned from. Two specific things I was reminded of were to find power in my fatigue when I have been moving for hours straight and the nuances in movement and phrase work.

Why do you think this was a valuable experience, and how will you apply it to your studies here at Emory, and in your future post-graduation?

I learned a lot of choreographic skills from a class with David Parker that I have been using in my current Emory Dance Company piece. These were ideas to generate movement that I had never learned, and I found that class meaningful. Additionally, after the classes we would have lectures about different topics such as what it means to dance in a company, or freelancing. These will help guide me next year as I attempt to continue to dance post graduation.

Would you recommend this program (or similar ones) to other movers, and if so, why?

I would 110% recommend this program, because you are truly learning from the best in one of the major hubs of dance: New York City. The community is supportive, but also challenging. Overall though, I would encourage everyone to just dance as much as possible, and take advantage of the opportunities offered by Emory. We have the tremendous gift to be able to dance during winter and summer breaks with aid from the Friends of Dance Scholarship Program and the Friends of Dance Mini-Grants.

Thank you Katie!

Find out more about BDF/Connect Gibney Dance Intensive here!

For more information on our Spring Dance events, click here!

Monday, December 11, 2017

Emory Dance Summer Studies: Batsheva Dance Company

Emory dancer Jacob Robbins spent his summer interning with Batsheva Dance Company in Tel Aviv, Israel. At Emory he is a junior double majoring in dance and movement studies and business (with focuses in marketing and consulting). He spent three months working with Batsheva's International Development and Touring Department, as well as taking company repertoire and Gaga classes, some even taught by artistic director Ohad Naharin. To find out more about his experiences,  please read on.

*Responses have been edited for length and clarity.

Please describe your internship, and some of the responsibilities you had.

This summer I interned in the International Development and Touring Department with the Batsheva Dance Company in Tel Aviv, Israel. Through the three months I was there, I had a variety of different responsibilities, specifically geared toward the American Friends of Batsheva (the American donors of the company). I researched potential donors and arts foundations, as well as applied for major nonprofit grants and funding. Working directly with Salesforce software, I inputted and updated over 500 profiles that covered a three-year donation history. Additionally, with my co-intern, as well as the six employees in the department, I assisted with the planning and execution of the annual exclusive summer event, which had over 400 patrons in attendance. While these were my main responsibilities, I also created and launched a Batsheva Dance Company Twitter feed, edited their 2016 annual report, aided the touring department with tour booklets for two major European tours, and served as a Batsheva Dance Company ambassador for a two-week pilot of a pre-performance donor booth and gave private tours of the grounds for potential donors.

What was your most memorable experience during your internship with Batsheva Dance Company?

My most memorable experience during my summer would have to be the opportunity to participate in daily Gaga classes, which is the universal movement class created by Artistic Director Ohad Naharin. Taking these daily classes allowed me to explore a new style of dance that I had never done before, ultimately allowing me to immerse myself in the dance culture of Israel. Not only was I able to take these classes, but sometimes they were taught by company members and even Ohad Naharin himself. I’ll never forget the time my boss told me to stop working and to take company class taught by Ohad. Some of my other favorite memories include having access to the company’s summer season, learning company repertoire, and choosing photos from performances for brochures.

Why do you think this was a valuable experience, and how will you apply it to your future endeavors in dance?

This experience was extremely valuable, as I exposed myself to a foreign dance language. For three months, I was out of my comfort zone and constantly challenging myself in a country halfway around the world. I learned how one of the foremost contemporary dance companies in the world operates, and I am beyond grateful for the experience. I had the opportunity to meet dancers, large donors, see performances, deal with ticket sales, partake in classes, learn fundraising techniques, navigate a completely new city, and more.

Would you recommend this internship (or similar ones) to other dance students, if so, why?

Without hesitation, I would recommend this internship to other dance students. I cannot even begin to describe how remarkable my experience was, and I truly hope other students can have a similar experience as I did. I highly recommend dance students to reach out to companies they are interested in interning for, as this was not even listed on their website. I sent an email to a random email I saw online and they happened to be looking for summer interns. 

Thank you Jacob!

To find out more about Batsheva, check out their website here!

For more information on Emory Dance's upcoming events, click here!